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Sigma 100-300mm f4 EX IF HSM APO

100-300if_1_
Review Date: Mar 28, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $900.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharp, fast focus, f/4 is usually fast enough, zoom to 300mm on full frame is great. Decent value for a pro quality lens.
Cons:
Tripod collar is too stiff and I wouldn't mind VR.

I shoot sports professionally. I have a 70-200 but this is the lens I use for most outdoor action. On a D300 the added reach is great for getting action on the other side of the field; on a D700 the extra reach is welcome too. It focuses fast, is sharp and has a nice smooth feel to the zoom action.

I'm not sure why it's not a bigger seller. I don't think I've ever seen Sigma advertise it but if you're considering a Nikon 80-400, check this out first. Not quite the reach but of so much better. And if you can give up a stop, and with the low noise of current sensors you should be able to, this is a much better value than a 70-200 f/2.8. Or for not that much more, it's a much better lens than the 75-300 even with the VR. I own all 3 and this is my lens of choice for outdoor action every time.

Add VR and a better tripod (monopod) collar and it's a perfect.


 
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED NIKKOR AF-S

224-70
Review Date: Mar 28, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Super sharp, fast focus, VR, good tripod collar
Cons:
Price & weight but you expect that.

This lens is everything a pro caliber fast lens should be. Very sharp, fast focus, smooth zoom, it's all good. Wouldn't mind if were a bit cheaper and lighter but for indoor sports action on a D700, there is no equal - sorry Canon.

 
Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED DX VR AF-S

18-200dx
Review Date: Mar 28, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $750.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Covers 90% of my needs. Fast focus, modest size, light weight and VR make it a keeper
Cons:
Not the sharpest lens I own and not built as tough as Nikon's "pro" lenses

Most everything I shoot, I shoot professionally for high school yearbooks. Proms, sports teams, pep rallies. games, parades, you name it. My body of choice for this lens is the D300.

This is the lens I use far and away the most. Indoor sports the Nikon 70-200 and outside field games and skiing are shot with the Sigma 100-300. Everything else is covered by this lens. I've even shot football where the wide angle makes for a better variety of shots. Using this for a dance is a much better choice than my 24-70 which is way too heavy to lug around all night.

As noted above, it's not the sharpest lens I own but it's plenty sharp. I've done 16x20 portraits that are just fine. The 24-70 might resolve a few more hairs, but this lens doesn't embarrass itself.

Also, it's not built like the more expensive lenses - I'm on my 2nd. First one broke in 2 as I fell avoiding a larger football player coming my way. I had no doubts about getting a 2nd one the next day. Now I'm just more careful.


 
Canon Deluxe Backpack 200 EG

46512canon_200EG_1_
Review Date: Jan 30, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $55.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Good bag for the money. Good construction and fairly well thought out.
Cons:
Outside pockets are next to worthless - too small and don't close well.

Overall a good bag for the money. A Tamrac is a better bag but a 3 time the price. I love the way the top opening is "scooped" to make it easier to remove the camera body with a long lens attached. The 2 outside pockets weren't well executed but the other pockets work well. I've got a body with battery pack and lens attached, flash, 70-200 and 3 other lenses plus various small crap (batteries, etc) in mine. The suspension system is not really designed for serios hiking. If you're doing that, go for the Tamrac. Keep in mind Canon dealers often get these "free" when they purchase "X" amount of cameras so there may be deals to be had.